PEN hosts second Pastoral Residency School

May 25, 2016 | Pastoral Excellence Network


The second Pastoral Excellence Network (PEN) Pastoral Residency School convened on April 25-27 at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. Pastoral residencies provide opportunities for newly or about to be ordained clergy to have a ministry experience in a congregation, supported by mentoring and intentional learning and pastoral formation experiences.

Twenty-four church leaders representing eight churches participated in this training which was designed to help church teams prepare to launch new pastoral residency programs. The School helped the teams articulate why they want to start a pastoral residency, learn about the common practices and distinct models of pastoral residencies, and begin to plan for the launch of a pastoral residency in their congregation. 

This training was led by Larry Peers from the Pastoral Excellence Network, and a team of leaders from churches with established, successful and sustainable pastoral residency programs. That team included Lewis Galloway from Second Presbyterian Church, George Mason from Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, and Fairfax Fair and Jay Sanderford from First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor. In addition, two pastoral residents from Second Presbyterian Church, John Reinink and Madison VanVeelen, shared their perspectives and experiences and led worship. The group was joined by two officers of Lilly Endowment, Inc., which supported the original pastoral residency initiative with direct grants to churches through their Transition into Ministry initiative and now through modest launching grants provided by the Pastoral Excellence Network.

The participating churches came at various stages in their process, with some just beginning to explore the scope of what it means to become a pastoral residency church, and others nearing the launch of their program. For all, understanding the importance of educating the congregation and securing their commitment to the program is crucial. In addition to learning about the characteristics of a pastoral residency program and how the mentoring process differs from the mentoring which takes place in a normal pastor-associate relationship, a common concern was funding the program and creating structures to ensure sustainability beyond the Launching Grant provided by PEN.  

Participants in the school reported that in addition to benefitting from the wisdom of veteran residency mentoring pastors, they greatly appreciated networking with a diverse group of others who share the common desire to launch a residency program.  Many expressed gratitude and relief in knowing that with the support of peer churches and the experience and resources offered by the Pastoral Excellence Network, they do not have to go into this bold undertaking alone. Because there is documented history and an existing network of connection between ongoing residency programs, churches in the planning and early stages of their residency benefit from an accelerated learning curve, and can avoid making some of the mistakes which the pioneer programs may have made in their early years.  

More News